Hullo. Still no change on the dizzy front, but you don’t come here to find out about my medical condition, you come here for the sounds, man. And what sounds do we have for you this week? Another mixed bag of delights, that’s what. We have modern French psych, forgotten soul, Swedish dream-pop and possible fake-motorik from seventies East Germany. If that’s not the definition of a mixed bag, then I’m a monkey’s uncle.
Joining us, as always, is our resident Pop-Picker Paul D’Cruz. This week my very good friend, bandmate and official mascot for the 1976 Winter Olympics has selected some rather lovely Canadian folk-pop.
Ok then, up up and away..
Track 1. Virage Sud by Aquaserge.
We begin with a brand new track from French outfit Aquaserge. This is cribbed from their latest LP ‘Laisse ça être’. The band is actually a supergroup in that it is made up of various members of Tame Impala, Stereolab and Acid Mother’s Temple. All those influences are present on this track with its Jazzy, psych leanings evident on the below live version which incorporates some punchy horns.
Track 2. Brother & Sisters by Milton Wright.
Milton Wright, the brother of ‘Clean Up Woman’ star and NL alumni Betty Wright, released two underappreciated albums in the mid seventies full to the brim with classy crossover fayre such as this. With a voice similar in timbre to Stevie Wonder, this weeks cover star should have enjoyed more success than he did but unfortunately poor distribution led to a career change. He now sits as a judge for Boston municipal court, earning the Judicial Excellence Award for 2004 from the Massachusetts Judges Conference. He still performs today with his voice still powerful enough to belt out everything from rhythm and blues and gospel to opera.
Track 3. Every Inflection by Brent Cash.
Athens, Georgia native Brent released his third solo album in January this year and much like his previous two offerings it’s choc-full of piano driven songs such as this. It’s difficult not to mention the inevitable Beach Boys comparisons that go with harmony driven sunshine pop like this but it definitely has a touch of mid-period Wilson to it as well as shades of another BB fan and NL favourite, BC Camplight.
Track 4. KoKoro by El Perro Del Mar.
This is the title track from Sarah Assbring’s fifth album released last year which is a world away from the Swedish singers early sixties influenced pop offerings. Fusing together rhythms taken from Japan and Cambodia, she has crafted some classy pop with catchy melodies that creep up on you and before you know it you have an earworm for days.
Track 5. Penguins by Michael Hurley.
Ah, the mouth trumpet, unfairly maligned in some quarters, when done right it can be an affecting instrument. Hurley does it right here on the closer from his 1971 sophomore LP ‘Armchair Boogie’. Backed only by his guitar, this instrumental puts me in mind of the incidental music for a long forgotten Oliver Postgate animation. Close your eyes and imagine your own stop-motion masterpiece, probably featuring the penguins of the title.
Track 6. Bush Fire by The Cannons.
I’ve drawn a blank when it comes to giving you any inside info on this next track. An instrumental from a London based sixties surf guitar band, it has the exact sound that you would expect from an act of that description.
Track 7. Early to the Party by Andy Shauf.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
This comes from Shauf’s ‘The Party’ his third LP which was released last year. Taking on a concept album shows some ambition, performing all the instruments yourself proves ability. The record describes an unfolding party over the course of one evening. Here, as the title suggests is a tale of someone who arrives unfashionably early, Shauf documenting this common faux pas from a wallflowers point of view, which begs the question, just what time did Andy arrive then?
Track 8. The Feeling When You Walk Away by Yves Tumor.
This enigmatic artist (Rahel Ali or Sean Lee Bowie, depending on whichever story he feels like telling) has released records under different guises in the past, from the electronica of his various pseudonyms—Bekelé Berhanu, Shanti, TEAMS, to this, his latest project which is probably the most fully formed of his releases to date. His LP, ‘Serpent Music’, released last year begins with soulful, almost fully formed tracks then quickly shifts gear into soundscapes and field recordings that lean more towards Avant Garde. This track is one of the former, a looping R&B guitar with Tumor’s voice giving it some early seventies psych soul backing.
Track 9. Jenseits des Horizonts by Kosmischer Läufer.
The back story to this next track is an intriguing one. The story goes that communist East Germany commissioned the electronic composer Martin Zeichnete to create workout soundtracks for the GDR’s Olympic teams of the seventies and early eighties. Taking cues from West German Krautrock bands such as Kluster and Neu!, the musician crafted his own Motorik tracks under the name Kosmischer Läufer-‘Cosmic Runner’ until the programme was abandoned in 1983. The music was then unearthed in 2013 by Edinburgh’s Unknown Capability Recordings who released a compilation of Zeichnete’s work as ‘Kosmischer Läufer: Cosmic Music of the East German Olympic Program 1972-83’. Google searches for Zeichnete reveal no further info leading some commentators to pass this music off as a studied hoax by the label. Either way, it’s wonderful stuff, be it of a 40 or 5 years vintage
Track 10. Harlem by Edwin Starr.
This weeks SSC is a killer-B from Edwin Starr. The flip to his single ‘Headline News’ which scraped into the UK charts at #39 in 1966 and became a Northern Soul favourite, it’s a mid tempo tribute to a town where Starr never resided. Born in Nashville he de-camped to Detroit where he found a home at Motown before moving to the UK in 1973 where he lived until his death from a heart-attack in 2003.
Well then. That’s another weekly dose of sounds for the soul done and dusted. Be sure to join us again next week for another tremendous ten tracks. Free of charge, gratis, for nowt pence. Share ’em with your friends or keep ’em to yourself. You lucky sausages.
Until then, You’ve got to show me love.